The Washington based Global Environment Facility has approved $9.1 million for environmental projects in the Lake Victoria basin.
GEF’s contribution will add to $251 million offered in kind by governments from East Africa to the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Programme (LVEMP) phase 3.
GEF also has approved $1.3 million for Sudan’s Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project, $6.2 million for Egypt’s Green Sharm El Sheikh town and $4.4 million for Algeria’s Integrated Management of Waste Energy.
Under LVEMP phase 3, the World Bank, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission jointly with Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi will work to reduce environmental degradation over five years beginning 2019.
GEF chief executive Naoko Ishii said the funding will support the region’s efforts to prevent pollution and strengthen the management of transboundary natural resources.
“Untreated wastewater causes eutrophication throughout the lake and provides a fertile environment for invasive weeds such as water hyacinth. As a result, fish stocks get depleted,” she said.
Eutrophication is the dense growth of plant life and algae in the water body due to excess nutrients from run-off from the land. It may also result in oxygen depletion of the lake.
Ms Ishii said the project will focus on sanitation, aquatic weeds and soil erosion control measures.
The LVEMP 3 project will also support selected fishing communities to control water hyacinth and protect fish breeding areas.
It is expected that out of the 100,000 project beneficiaries, 50,000 will be women. The project will focus on activities women engage in for a livelihood, and monitor their participation in the decision-making process.
Lake Victoria’s ecosystem has over the past 40 years experienced high levels of environmental degradation. The lake is shared by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Rwanda and Burundi form part of the upper watershed that drains into the lake through the Kagera river.